There are lots of ways to “consume” fuel once you’ve purchased it. Noticeable losses drive you crazy – is someone actually stealing from your fuel inventory? Is fuel being used inappropriately for poorly planned or personal trips, or dispensed into the wrong vehicles? Maybe you just think it’s disappearing because your record-keeping isn’t quite what it should be.
A fuel management system can help you keep better track of your assets so you can realistically monitor consumption. And while that’s good news, there are a number of practices you can embrace to directly increase on-the-road mileage. Your automated system supports those efforts, too. Here are just five ways it can help you reduce fuel consumption:
FleetFinancials.com says the national average theft rate is 3% of annual fuel budget. Whether your experience is better or worse, gaining full control of your fuel assets eliminates needless losses that erode profits. An automated fuel management system replaces human error and inconsistent data gathering with reliable, accurate, timely and detailed information you can use to monitor, evaluate and improve every aspect of your fueling operation, from purchasing to dispensing to accounting and compliance reporting.
Improve vehicle maintenance and performance.
A well-tuned, in-repair fleet performs at peak levels, and that includes the lowest possible fuel consumption. Because a fuel management system can provide real-time, ongoing information about vehicle usage, you can easily sustain a regular maintenance schedule. Better yet, your automated system can alert you to anomalies that may indicate impending problems, so you can fix them before they become more costly or cause total vehicle breakdown.
Reduce expensive, wasteful idle time.
Emissions caused by excessive idling have become such a political issue that states and municipalities are mandating reductions to improve health and air quality. But idling is affecting your financial health, too. Do you even know how many hours your vehicles spend each year, burning up fuel while doing nothing productive? It could be staggering. A fuel management system can collect the information you need to tackle this very controllable problem.
Reduce speeding and other fuel-wasting driver behaviors.
Speeding, power take-offs, last-minute or excessive braking and unnecessary gear changing or clutching all reduce mileage and cause additional engine wear and tear. But even the most experienced driver can get in a hurry or become lax, and that lack of attention can dramatically affecting fuel consumption. A fuel management system enables you to track both vehicle and driving details to identify areas where you can improve.
Streamline routing and vehicle scheduling.
Your fuel management system can support and monitor route planning, to shorten trips and alert you to unauthorized side excursions. If your fleet includes different types of vehicles, choosing the most economical one for each job can save on fuel, too. You could even wind up reducing your fleet size without sacrificing productivity, saving on capital investment, ongoing upkeep and other costs.
There are so many factors you can’t control – vehicle age, loads, long-haul trips versus short stop-and-go associated with city driving or delivery services, road conditions, weather. But without a doubt the most significant factor you can’t control is the rising price of fuel.
The truth is, you can’t manage without measurement and you can’t make smart, effective business decisions without complete, accurate data. Adopting a comprehensive fuel management system gives you the power and the resources to control what you can, effectively tracking and managing every drop of the fuel you buy.
Instituting an automated fuel management system and making the most of it can make the difference between watching your profits leak out the exhaust pipe or sharpening your operation to be stronger and more competitive.
Photo Credit: Dennis Redfield